Koi Fish: Culture Meets Biology

The Koi fish is known for being a symbol of strength, courage, and patience. Known for swimming against the current, the Koi fish symbolizes what it takes to overcome obstacles and challenges that are in your path. Koi fish were believed to originate from rice farmers domesticating carp in China during the 4th century. The breeding between the colorful types of carp resulted in the diversity of Koi fish you see today.

Koi fish do not only have historical and spiritual importance but their biology is fascinating as well. They typically grow between the sizes of 24 to 36 inches but, they can grow up to 52 inches! That is the size of an average 10-year-old boy! They also have extremely long lives for fish. They have the chance to live up to 100 years with the typical range being somewhere between 25 to 35 years. Even though these fish are cold-water fish, they benefit heavily when being placed in waters above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because Koi fish that are in waters below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for long periods can begin to develop a weakened immune system. This can reduce the lifespan of the fish as well as decrease overall health.

One of the coolest things about Koi fish is what happens to them when they are placed back into the wild. Since Koi fish is a relatively new species in comparison to other animals, they still have all the genes of their ancestor carps. After a few generations of being left in the wild, they will no longer be identified as a Koi and revert to an Amur Carp.

Stingrays: The Planes Of The Sea

The stingray is no doubt one of the most fascinating creatures you can find in the ocean. Their rubbery skin, long wing-like structure, and massive tail are very unique to their species. The Stingray is a cartilaginous fish that is closely related to sharks. The life span of these fish is currently unknown in the wild but, in human captivity, they live from 5-10 years. They are also very diverse in the size they can reach. Small Stingrays can reach a diameter of a dinner plate or a little less than a foot. Large stingrays can reach up to 16 feet!

The Stingray is a very well-adapted creature for the ocean. Their grey top allows them to blend into the darkness of the ocean if being observed from above. From below, they have a white belly that replicates the brightness of the sun. One of the most amazing things about Stingrays is their ability to sense prey. Similar to sharks, they can detect the biological electrical pulse that other organisms give off. This allows them to locate their prey much more easily. Finally, the Stingray has a sharp spine that sticks off its tail. This spine has sharp ridges that cut anything that touches it. It also has cells that release venom to enter the wound.

Coral: Is It Really Alive??

Coral is one of the most amazing and beautiful creatures in the ocean. They litter the rocks and floors of the ocean with color and protection for other animals. At first glance, you may think that coral is a type of plant. In some way, you would be right. But, there is a huge difference between plants and coral. Coral is actually more evolutionally related to humans than they are to plants. Coral falls into a very similar category as the sponges you use for cleaning your dishes. They are marine invertebrates in the phylum Cnidaria. The Phylum Cnidaria consists of marine organisms that have specialized cells for capturing prey. This Phylum even consists of Jellyfish. Coral is specifically in the class Anthozoa. This class is a section of Cnidarians that filter water through an internal system of septa and folds in the body leading to a large cavity for digestion.

The reason that pollution is associated with the decrease in coral populations is due to algae. When sedimentation and other objects enter the water it increases the growth rate of certain algae that decrease the quality of water. This decreased quality of water results in coral becoming susceptible to disease, death, and decreases production rates. The death of coral has an overlying effect on creatures of the ocean. Coral provides food for the smallest of animals and even protection. This leads to a snowball effect that can cause disaster for all animals.